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No Oriental Poppy Flowers – Reasons For Oriental Poppies Not Blooming

No Oriental Poppy Flowers – Reasons For Oriental Poppies Not Blooming


Oriental poppies are among the showiest of perennials, with big, bright blooms that light up a spring garden. But, having no flowers on oriental poppies can happen some years, and it’s a real disappointment.

About Ornamental Poppy Plants

Hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9, oriental poppies are herbaceous perennials that bloom in spring and early summer. They have bluish-green foliage that is hairy, thistle-like, and sometimes silvery. They grow quite tall, up to three feet (1 m.), and produce large, papery flowers, typically reddish-orange, but sometimes pink, white, or even bi-colored.

The oriental poppy is fairly easy to grow and does not often suffer from pests or diseases. It prefers a sunny spot with soil that is well drained and moist and does not tolerate extreme heat. During a hot, dry summer, plants may die back and return in the fall.

To get flowers on ornamental poppy plants, you have to ensure their needs are met. If they are, you should get showy blooms without much effort or concern about disease.

Why Don’t Oriental Poppies Bloom?

So what happens when there are no flowers on oriental poppies and why does this occur? There may be several reasons why you are not getting blooms. The simplest answer, if you are new to growing oriental poppies, may be that you haven’t yet gotten to their flowering season. These plants typically produce flowers in late spring or early summer, and although they may die back and regrow in the fall, autumn blooms are rare.

If you see your oriental poppies not blooming even during the typical time period, there may be some other issues going on. Transplants take a couple years to establish before producing flowers, so you may just need to wait a little longer. Poppy stalks can also struggle to emerge from mulch, so if you have mulched your bed, try removing it from the area right around the poppy foliage.

If these are not the issues, consider checking your soil. Poppies do not like soggy soil, and some gardeners report that overly-rich soil can lead to a lack of flowering. On the other hand, your soil may be lacking nutrients necessary for flowering. Check with your local nursery for a fertilizer that is specific to promoting blooms, like bone meal.

While there may be specific issues causing your poppies to fail to bloom, the most likely answer is that you just need to be patient. Poppies, in general, are finicky about being moved, so if you have transplanted them, wait a year or two and you should eventually see magnificent flowers.


To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

  • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
  • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

Find Your Planting Zone:

About Perennial Poppies: Every perennial gardener knows that absolutely nothing makes the spectacle of bloom that is made every year by the big perennial poppies. With crepe-like flowers up to 8 or even 10" across, "oriental poppies" make the biggest show of the year in perennial gardens everywhere. The basic common one is always orange, but today, hybrids of all kinds of shades are available.

Growing Poppies: First of all, there are only a few types of poppies of interest to gardeners and the types are sometimes confused. Here they are:

"Oriental Poppies" These are the Perennial Poppies shown on this page. They're called "oriental" since the botanical name is "Papaver orientale" Papaver is the name for the poppy genus, and this species---the garden perennial, is Papaver orientale.
"Red Poppies" are the much smaller bright red and pink annuals, a very famous wildflower in Europe and the Middle East. The Latin name is Papaver rhoeas. We sell seed for that easy-to-grow poppy in our Wildflower Seed Encyclopedia on this website. In fact, Red Poppy is always our No. 1 best-selling wildflower seed.
"Opium Poppies" These are the famous ones from which opium, heroin, and other drugs are made. They are also the poppies that produce the seeds used in baking--your next "poppy seed bun" will feature them! The opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) is an annual, and has flowers as large as the perennial. They are rarely grown in the US, for obvious reasons.

For Perennial Gardens: Back to the poppies at hand--the beautiful perennial versions. They all grow about 2 to 3 ft. tall, bloom in late spring, feature bristly foliage, and die down after blooming. During their spectacular bloom, they produce huge 4-petaled flowers which open wide, mostly with dramatic black centers. Best of all, once once established, Perennial Poppies or Oriental Poppies are some of the longest-lasting, hardiest perennials you can grow. In fact, I have seen old abandoned gardens totally overgrown by weeds and grasses, and there in the middle of it all, the only flower plant usually left is an oriental poppy still blooming beautifully. They are tough enough to ward off almost anything once they're growing well.

The roots are fleshy, somewhat like a daylily's, and once they're planted, they don't like to be moved. So choose your spots well. They like full sun, and make wonderful show-pieces for the front of your border.

One thing to remember. Unlike other perennials, after their fabulous bloom, the whole plant dies down, sort of like a tulip or daffodil. This means you're going to have open spaces during midsummer in those spots in your garden. A great way to fill in the spaces once your poppies are gone is to have some annuals waiting to pop in. Move in petunias or marigolds, or any other sunloving annual, and it'll fill the spaces, and add color for you the rest of the season. The following spring, your poppy plants will be back up stronger than ever, with big leaves and fat buds just waiting to open into your favorite flowers.


Turn, Turn, Turn

Oriental poppies have a definite season for every purpose. If yours aren't blooming, it may be that it simply isn't their time to bloom. Oriental poppies flower in late spring to early summer. Under ideal conditions, the 4- to 6-inch flowers shower the plant with blooms as stalks rise up to 4 feet above the coarse, bristly mound of foliage. Once that spring bloom has passed, the foliage dies back to the ground and often completely disappears. Foliage returns along with fall's cooler temperatures, but late-season blooms in mild climates are rare.


One Stop Poppy Shoppe Blog

Oriental Poppy Ruffled Patty

Producing the best from your Oriental Poppy Seeds

Poppies are a vibrant part of many gardens, and for some of the most incredible plants of the family, Oriental poppy seeds (Papaver Orientale) can be grown and nurtured at home. Perennials by nature, these specimens are perfect in the herbaceous border and will create a serene and natural show of flowers in the spring for all to enjoy. Meanwhile, with a wide range of flower colors available, gardeners can easily incorporate them into their schemes whatever the color palette.

Germinating and growing oriental poppies (Papaver Orientale) from seed can be more difficult than many other poppies, but with the right conditions and care, healthy vibrant plants can be established. Using seed compost, seeds should be scattered generously on the surface of moist soil and not covered. However, while it is important the seeds remain uncovered by soil, they also need darkness to germinate properly. Using newspaper or pieces of card, cover the pot or seed trays at night until the first green shoots start appearing after approximately 15 to 20 days. The covering can then be removed, and seeds grown on with care to ensure that compost is kept moist and air circulation high to prevent damping off. When plants are large enough to transplant, care should be taken not to disturb the roots as this is a particularly high cause of die-off in young Oriental poppies. They should be situated in an herbaceous border which has nutrient rich, well drained soil, and is in full sun to ensure that young plants can grow up as quickly as possible.

Oriental Poppies 'Nana Allegro'

Providing the right initial conditions are correct, Oriental poppies will quickly begin to thrive and put on spectacular shows in the spring. Unlike many herbaceous plants which should be cut down as they fade in the fall, the best time to remove foliage and flower stalks is shortly after flowering, when poppies will begin to brown and die. With root propagation also a viable way of producing new plants, letting seed pods ripen is not necessary, and so all trace of plants should be removed back to soil level. Gardeners will very quickly find that individual Oriental poppy specimens soon start putting out new fresh leaves again, which though staying relatively small, will often remain through the winter months until the spring warmth encourages vibrant growth.

Like many herbaceous plants, the best time to divide, split, and take root cuttings from Oriental poppies is in the fall after they have flowered for the year and become almost entirely dormant. For large specimens which have been left to mature fully, simply digging up the plant will be sufficient to find rooted tubers which can be easily separated. For plants where only one root ball has developed, fleshy roots can be cut into segments of between one and two inches. Lay these just under the surface of potting compost placed into a pot, and maintain the moisture. While disturbance must be kept to a minimum, most plants will start to develop roots after only a couple of weeks, with the appearance of green shoots signaling that the propagation has been successful.

Oriental Poppies 'Prince of Orange'

Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale) are beautiful plants that many crave to have in their garden. A border simply full of different shades of specimens provides a breathtaking and stunning sight. And with Oriental poppy seeds offering a wide variety of species to grow, gardeners can ensure that their borders are bursting with vibrancy.

So, now that you understand how easy it is to grow and care for Oriental poppy seeds , let me show you all the wonderful colors and varieties available for purchase from this merchant One Stop Poppy Shoppe .


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